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What Is The Tailgate on a Pickup Truck?

What Is The Tailgate on a Pickup Truck?

Having trouble with car parts, and can’t understand what’s what? Vehicles have many strange-sounding parts, and it’s not a problem if you can’t distinguish between different parts. That being said, have you ever wondered what a tailgate is on a pickup truck?

A tailgate is a hinged door at the back of a truck. This door is used to enter the rear part of the bed of a truck and is also used to secure goods when traveling or transporting cargo.

But that’s not all! Tailgates are a very important part of any truck, and there’s a lot of useful information that you can read up on so you’re well versed on this essential part of a truck! So, read on!

What part of a truck is the tailgate?

When you look at the rear end of a truck, you see an open space that’s usually used to transport cargo, or hold passengers. And guarding this place is a handy door that usually has a handle in the middle so you can easily open and close it.

This part of the truck is called the tailgate. It protects the passengers and any cargo from falling out of the truck bed when you’re driving and has several other uses as well.

What are tailgates used for?

Tailgates are essentially the door for the truck bed. These are used for a variety of things, which are mentioned below.

When you’re transporting any sort of cargo that can fall out while you’re driving, a tailgate prevents it from falling out. You can easily store stuff and fill the truck to the brim of the truck bed, and the tailgate will stop anything from falling out of the rear end.

People in different states also like to participate in “tailgating”, in which meals are served out of the back of or around a vehicle. You can easily pack your cooking goods into the back, and have a great time with your friends and family at the local picnic points!

Tailgates are also used to protect any passengers traveling in the back, and you can hold on to the tailgate for extra support when there are extra people in the back.

Another great use for tailgates is as a separate loading platform. You can lower them down till they’re level with the truck bed, and load extra cargo onto them as well. 

Having a tailgate also reduces the load from the middle of your truck, and won’t excessively strain one part of the truck. This will also help to spread the weight distribution of the truck.

Can I detach my tailgate?

Yes! Most, if not all, trucks allow you to detach your tailgate completely from the vehicle. You can do this for several reasons. 

You might want to carry something that isn’t fitting in your truck, and you can remove the tailgate so you can easily load any heavy cargo onto the truck bed.

Keep in mind that you need to comply with safety laws as well. Removing the tailgate and carrying cargo that extends the length of the vehicle requires you to mark the cargo.

Any load that extends over four feet from the back end of the vehicle means that you should mark the rear of the vehicle with a flag that has either a red, orange or yellow color. This flag should be at least 16 square inches.

If you’re going to be transporting this cargo at night, it is also required that you plant a red light onto your truck that is visible from 500 meters.

Removing the tailgate

Removing the tailgate is an easy procedure, and the exact procedure depends from truck to truck.

There is usually a tailgate removal kit that is provided with your truck, so you need to get your hands on that first. Also, get the manual so you can check it for further guidance and instructions.

First, you have to open the tailgate so it lays flat on the bed of a truck. That’s as simple as pulling on the handle and gently lowering it down.

After this, you will have to remove the cables or connectors that are attaching the tailgate to the rear end of the truck. Whether your truck has cables or not depends on the make and model of the truck, but usually, there are some cables or connectors present.

This step is followed by lifting the tailgate. It is advised that you get someone to help you, since the tailgate is pretty heavy. 

Some models also require that you remove the hinges one by one, and tilt the tailgate to one side before removing it. The exact procedure varies from truck to truck, and you should refer to your manual before attempting to remove the tailgate.

What is “tailgating”?

You might have heard of this phrase if there’s a conversation about safety in driving. Tailgating means driving too closely behind another vehicle, so much that your bumper is virtually touching the car in front. Essentially, you’re tailgating them.

This is a very dangerous act, and it is advised that you don’t do this. The reason behind this is that if the car in front of you breaks suddenly, you will most likely crash into their rear end.

Another reason for not tailgating is that you’re not able to see the front of the road other than the car that is right in front of you. 

Many accidents occur because the car in front suddenly swerves out of the way because of an oncoming obstruction, and the car that is tailgating usually gets in an accident.

General Tailgate Advice

Always remember to not leave your tailgate down when driving, since that is dangerous for other drivers, can cause your cargo to fall out, and is illegal in several states as well. 

Make sure to always use OEM cables for attaching the tailgate to your truck, since other types of wires may not have the same strength.

Final Thoughts on Pickup Truck Tailgates

Well, there you have it! Hopefully, you understand what a tailgate is, what it’s used for, how to remove it, and some general advice! Have fun driving!

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Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!